NDP demands urgent help for pyrrhotite crisis

The daily horror stories of thousands of citizens affected by the pyrrhotite crisis in Trois-Rivières and a good part of Mauricie in Quebec require immediate financial aid from the federal government, say New Democrats.

“Minister Lebel likes to talk about respecting jurisdictional responsibilities as an excuse for doing nothing,” said Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières). “I would like to remind him that coming to the aid of the people affected by this crisis does not fall simply within one jurisdiction. What's more, city and provincial officials alike are calling on the federal government to do its part. The Conservatives' lack of action in this matter is insulting to people who are already stretched financially.”

Pyrrhotite has affected homes, businesses, public buildings and infrastructure. The crisis has already caused over a billion dollars in damage. For example, repairs for a family home can cost between $150,000 and $175,000. So far, 1,300 homes have already been affected and if the trend continues, up to 5,000 families will be affected.

Aubin presented a report summarizing the extent of the situation and the urgent need for action. On top of financial problems, this crisis has also caused physical and psychological health problems for people.

“This crisis has had impacts that are comparable to those of a natural disaster and has been ignored by the Conservatives for too long,” added Aubin. “In order to prevent another such disaster from occurring elsewhere in Canada, the government must also intervene by amending the National Building Code to prevent this from happening elsewhere. We must address this major crisis and all levels of government must work together to do it. We must provide relief to victims as quickly as possible.”